Interview: Jason Carter

“I have fantasized about this fight, and I have seen it from every direction, and I have never seen myself losing.”

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Jason Carter

Interview by: Barry Laminack

100%, that’s what Jason Carter preaches; it’s also what he gives to his business, to his students, to his family and to his love of karate.  He’s a nice guy, but don’t mistake his kindness for weakness.  He wants to win, and he will do just about anything to make sure that he does.  He once dropped 10 pounds, 2 hours before an amateur fight, then went out and fought 3 rounds, and got the decision win.  Sure, he paid for it later with a two week trip to the hospital that almost cost him his life, but he won.  He won because he gave 100%.

Jason invited me out to World Martial Arts (1314 FM 646 in Dickinson) to talk about his upcoming fight with Kenneth  Battle (Hoger MMA), his newly formed venture with Krunk City Boxing , his new MMA team (646 MMA) and his clothing company Furia Fight Wear (http://www.furiafightwear.com) among  other things he’s got on his already full plate.

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TCD.net: How hard is it to balance your duties as an Instructor, a fighter, and as owner of a clothing company?

Jason: It’s very hard, I haven’t taken a day off in over a year.  Well, my day off is going to the doctor, but that’s not a full day.  I’m here training every night and teaching about 6 hours a day.  I have a partner for the clothing line, Chuck Feigle, so he helps with that.  It’s an every day battle to keep them all balanced.

TCD.net: Talk more about Furia, your clothing company.

Jason: We started Furia about two and a half years ago.  We started it for one of my fights.  I didn’t want to wear a Tapout shirt.  I’ve never owned a Tapout shirt in my life, so it was something that we decided to start up.  We knew that having a gym we could sale the shirts because we had customers.  So I brought them to a fight and my buddies (who also had fights) wanted to wear them.  Before I knew it (and after a lot of networking) I started seeing our stickers all over the city.  Now we have shirts in other states so it’s going good, but it’s still an uphill battle.

TCD.net: I understand you are fluent in several languages?

Jason: Yes, I’m fluent in English and Spanish.  As a kid I spoke Italian (I’m half Italian) but I wouldn’t say I’m fluent in it.  I also have a minor in French (my major was in Spanish).

TCD.net: I hear you used to teach school too.

Jason: Yes, I was a bilingual school teacher for 2 years here in Dickinson (my home town).  I taught kids that didn’t speak English.  It wasn’t ESL because they will put Vietnamese kids in ESL classes.  It was purely Spanish.  I taught my 5th grade classes in English and Spanish. I loved doing it man, and honestly, I enjoyed the bi-lingual kids more than the English speaking kids.  Those kids in Dickinson man, they are rough, it’s a rough town, but those bi-lingual kids are there to learn.

TCD.net: You work with kids a lot.  How difficult is that?

Jason: I started teaching Martial Arts when I was about 13 years old.  When I turned 15 I started getting paid to teach, so it’s something I learned how to do.  I learned a lot from my instructors, and my dad was a disciplinarian.  As far as kids go, I just have a lot of patients, but when it comes to adults, not as much.

Like this computer here, I will smash a computer. I will smash my phone, and I have before.  But with a kid, I can sit there all day, “Nope, do it again.  Nope, do it again.”  I don’t know, my hearts in the kids, it really is.

TCD.net: For those that don’t know, tell us what the difference is between 646 MMA and World Martial Arts?

Jason: World Martial Arts is the name of the gym.  It’s what’s on my kids t-shirts, and the fighters too.  The reason I did 646 MMA was because I wanted to create a fight team.  I wanted something special for those guys, and they did too.  I got all my fighters together, and we bounced around a bunch of names.  646 MMA is what we came up with.  It’s the street we are on, FM 646.

With Furia, we used numbers too, 3-5-1; it stands for 3 rounds, 5 minutes, 1 winner. There is just something about numbers; I think they are catchy.

TCD.net: Talk about your karate background and how you became an instructor.

Jason: I started Karate and Tae Kwon Do when I was 4.  I’ve done that my entire life.I was a state champion in point sparring.  A lot of people don’t give credit to point sparring, but that’s going to change [chuckles].  I spent 5 or 6 days a week competing, and just kind of fell into being an instructor.  My dad was a manager and book keeper for a gym.  They started using me in classes and before I knew it, it was my full time job.

TCD.net: How did you make the transition to MMA?

Jason: I started doing MMA in my garage.  I had a buddy, Sergio Deleon (he’s a Jiu-Jitsu instructor here too) and when I started wrestling with him, I realized how much I didn’t know.  When you get your ass handed to you on the ground, it’s an eye opener.  The reason I got into training hard was because I took my kids to Mike Tuckers gym and had my kids spar his kids.  Then I put on my gear and sparred one of his teenage black belts, and man, that kid brought it to me.  I had been partying too much, and got my ass whipped.  So I wanted to get that turned around and I started training and working hard because I want to win, I want to have weapons on the ground too.

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TCD.net: You’re a 4th degree black belt in Karate. How much does having that strong base help you in MMA?

Jason: First of all, anybody that has a solid foundation is going to go back to what they know, and they are going to be able to use that in MMA.  I had to modify my Karate and Tae Kwon Do for the sport. I take the tools from Karate that work and apply them to MMA.

TCD.net: Earlier, when we were talking, you mentioned Machida and St. Pierre and some of those guys that have a karate background.  What does it mean, as a karate guy, to have champions you can identify with?

Jason: It’s exciting.  I had a bad taste in my mouth when I first started MMA.  Some people, not me because I have too much pride in it, but some people would hide the fact that they had a karate background because of the reputation karate had.  People would say, “Mixed martial arts is BJJ and Muay Thai only,” but people like Machida let people know that there is a place for karate in MMA.  Even St. Pierre and Anderson Silva (who has a karate background too) are champions, so yeah it excites me.

TCD.net: On that topic, what are your thoughts on who won the Machida/Shogun fight?

Jason: I’m glad you asked me that!   [laughs]  Look, Machida is my favorite fighter, but if they would have said Shoguns name, I would not have been surprised.  If you listen to that fight, to just the announcers and you didn’t watch it, you would say that Shogun won that fight.  But fellow karate instructor and I watched that fight and we noticed that every time Shogun threw that round house, Machida would throw 2 or 3 straight punches that landed, so I saw the points.

Like I said, I think Shogun should get a rematch, but I saw the points for Machida.

TCD.net: Most fighters have a lineage. What is yours?

Jason: My first instructor was Al Garza, and then I trained under Mike Tucker.  Bruce Cervantes has been training me for this fight. Sergio Deleon has been my Jiu-Jitsu instructor.  I’m also a blue belt under Draculino.  I’ve got a lot of respect for him.

I have also been working with Angel Sauceda from Krunk City Boxing.  It was great, after just five minutes working the mitts with Angel I had learned something new that made me better.  After 20 plus years in martial arts, I really learned something; it was awesome!

TCD.net: Have you had a chance to see much of your opponent Kenneth Battle?

Jason: I saw one of his fights online.  I know he’s going to want to bring it.  I respect him, just as I respect every opponent.  I saw him in person for the first time too.  He looks like a big 155’er. Online they say he’s 5’9″, but he looks more like 6’1”.  I like being the smaller guy because I get to be the faster guy.

So, I don’t know much about him, but I respect him.  I know he’s going to bring it, but he is going to have a battle on his hand because I’ve got a lot of rage and fury.

TCD.net: How long have you been training for this fight?

Jason:  I’ve been training hard for about 10 weeks. I started about 16 weeks out, but I’ve been training hard for the last 10.  I learned from some of my previous fights, so I know what it takes.  There is nothing like being prepared for the cage. I’m hard core on strength and conditioning.  We are not going to be out trained.  You can have more skill than somebody, and still get beat because you got out trained.

TCD.net: Is there some point during training when you realize, I’m ready?

Jason: Yeah, peak week.  You know it, but there is now way to describe it other than when you are sparring, you feel like you are on fire.  I mean, you have to suffer.  That’s something I got from hearing Greg Jackson tell his guys, that you must suffer.  So don’t get me wrong you still want to puke, but after your round you still want to do another one.

TCD.net: A lot of fighters have an approach or philosophy if you will in the cage?  What’s yours?

Jason: Yes. Own the ring. You have to own the ring.  Respect your opponent, but own the ring.  That’s something that I learned from Tony Mosley.  When I was a little kid, I got beat up a lot. I mean, I won a lot, but I got beat a lot.  After 1000 karate matches you’re going to lose some times.  He used to tell me, “when you get in that ring, you have to own that ring, it is yours”.

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TCD.net: This always seems to be a tough question for fighter, but what is your prediction for the fight?

Jason: Knock Out.  That’s not tough for me.  Let me tell you, I have fantasized about this fight and I have seen it from every direction and I have never seen myself losing.  I have imagined what he could do to try and beat me, but I don’t see myself losing, not in my mind.

TCD.net: Do you know in what round you are going to knock him out?

Jason: First.  I’m ready for three, but I’m bringing the heat, so first round.  I told my wife that if I won by submission, I’d probably hang my head because I want to bang.  So, it’s not too hard of a questions for me, knock out.

TCD.net: Who do you see as some of the rising stars in Houston?

Jason: RJ Knepp. He’s one of my fighters.  When he came to me, he already had some experience and he said he was going to be in the UFC.  As a gym owner, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that, but the amount of work and effort he puts into it, he’s defiantly and upcoming star.

Brian Lightfoot is another one.  We sponsor him (Furia Fight wear), and we really believe in him, also Chad Cook and Jon Kurt.  If I missed anybody, I’m sorry!

TCD.net: Where do you see the Houston fight scene in 5 years?

Jason: Man, it’s hard to say.  I can tell you that a couple of years ago you might get a fight once or twice a season. But now, we have somebody fighting almost every other weekend, so I know it’s only going to get bigger.  I know the promoters are at each other’s throats, but I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.  They are going to bring in the crowds.

TCD.net: Any advice for young fighters just now starting?

Jason: Get a foundation, but don’t limit yourself. Really focus on a foundation and give it 100%. Keep your grades up because school is the most important thing.

I almost died in a fight.  I don’t want to talk about my past injuries, but I want to tell you because I think people should know.  I cut way too much weight on the same day I fought in Louisiana, and they shouldn’t have done that to me.  I fought 2 hours after I weighed in.  I cut almost 10 lbs that day.  I won my fight, and got my W, but I ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks.  So even If you are the toughest fighter in the world, you need your education, because you need something to go back on.

Also respect people.  Your role models should be the guys that don’t do a lot of trash talking.  A lot of the MMA role models aren’t always the most respectable guys, so pick and choose your role models wisely.

TCD.net: Anything you would like to say to your opponent, Kenneth?

Jason: Nah, I’m not a big trash talker, I respect him.  I don’t hate him.  I will say, I’ve had a lot of people look at me at get fooled, so just don’t be fooled Kenneth. People look at me, and they think one thing, and they get another so just don’t be fooled.

TCD.net: Anything you would like to say to your friends and family?

Jason: Man, I have a lot of friends and family.  I come from an Italian family and I love every one of them.  They have all been really supportive.

I’d like to dedicate this fight to Johnny Martinez Jr.  He’s a five year old student of mine who passed away last week.  His grandmother works here for me, and Bruce his uncle is an instructor for me.  I’ve known his family since I was four years old, so I’d like to dedicate this one to him.

TCD.net: Motto you live by?

Jason: Give 100% in anything you do.  It doesn’t have to be fighting.  It can be music, engineering or whatever, but whatever you do, give it 100%

Jason: I want to thank Furia Fight Wear (http://www.furiafightwear.com).  Krunk City Boxing.  TF Supplement.com (http://www.tfsupplements.com/) has been awesome to us, and they have the cheapest prices around too. Also Hue and Jeff’s Car Wash and Grill on FM 646 (http://www.hughandjeffs.com), they’ve been really great too.

In Memory of Johnny Martinez Jr.

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